Staff Writer
Apr 23, 2018

Hong Kong is most expensive city for business travellers

The fall of the Yen value positions Hong Kong as Asia’s most expensive city for delegates.

Hong Kong overtakes Tokyo in the rankings.
Hong Kong overtakes Tokyo in the rankings.

New research by ECA International revealed that Hong Kong overtook Tokyo as Asia’s most expensive city for business travel. The cost for a traveller or delegate in Hong Kong is US$508 a day, unchanged from 2016.

“Although Hong Kong has overtaken Tokyo in the rankings, this change is mostly due to the overall price of business travel in Japan decreasing in dollar terms after the Yen fell in value over the course of 2017,” said Lee Quane, regional director – Asia, ECA International.

Meanwhile, Singapore takes joint third place with Seoul with an average cost of US$479 per day. Quane attributed Singapore’s rise of cost to a small spike in hotel rates as well as the increase in travellers and delegates eating out in the city.

When compared alongside global cities such as New York (US$793 per day) and Geneva (US$720 per day), Singapore, Tokyo and Hong Kong are still significantly cheaper.

“New York tops the rankings as the [world’s] most expensive location for business travel due to the high cost of hotels and travel, as well as mandatory 15 to 20% tipping policies during meals out,” Quane said.

Kuala Lumpur is one of Asia's cheapest cities for business travel.

Other Asian cities in the top ten include Busan, Yokohama, Dhaka, Kobe, Shanghai, and Macau. On the other end of the spectrum is Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru as some of the cheapest business travel cities in the region.

“The continued weakness of the Malaysian Ringgit against major currencies has ensured that the cost of business travel in Malaysia is cheaper than elsewhere in Asia,” said Quane.

“Although fellow ASEAN countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei and Cambodia have cities which rank amongst the cheapest in the region, the cost of a business trip to Kuala Lumpur is less than half of what it is in Hong Kong.”

The rankings are tabulated based on average costs for hotel accommodation – which makes up the bulk of any daily allowance – as well as meals, drinks, laundry, transport, and daily essentials.


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